Freedom from Depression

by admin on February 23, 2011

happy woman in a field of oats

There are different kinds of depression and different reasons for it. Most common, and most logically is the depression which occurs after a sad event like the death of a loved one, or loss of job, or other life change. It is accepted and understood that time will heal and mourning is appropriate. It is understood that financial strain causes stress, and boredom causes sadness. So looking for and finding another job or redirecting attention towards getting occupational retraining can help solve these. These normal life occurrences give most people a taste of depression which for others becomes an inescapable state of being for months even years. Sometimes depression is hormonal and health related only and sometimes it is a hereditary or acquired chemical imbalance in the brain.

There are *experts* out there who, I assume, have the diagnostic ability to ascertain the cause and severity of a depression. At least I hope so. My concern is that the procedures used to diagnose are often anecdotal. This means that depending on the individuals tolerance levels, coping skills and communication style the actual diagnosis would be highly varied even in the exact same condition. Another concern of mine, worthy of note, is the pharmaceutical partnership with the medical community. Pharmaceuticals are necessary and valuable for health but are often overprescribed; and the habit of medicinal safety protocols being based on privately funded medical studies challenge the integrity and validity of the results. This means that more often than not, we, the population are actually being prescribed things which have been condoned by the very people who profit from them; not a neutral body concerned with only the health and safety of the user. If the day ever comes when I, or one of my family members needs medication, I will be diligent about researching it and insist upon moderation of use. In the meantime I strive to manage conditions with food and lifestyle choices.

We can accept and employ a sense of personal responsibility for our health and well being; thus beginning a distinct state of liberation. This, on a deep level, is profoundly effective in setting the stage for healing. Then we are open to see and have the strength to enact the changes we need to make it better. Part of the problem with depression is that it renders one unable to do the very things that will improve the situation. This takes dedication to oneself and practice. A person prone to depression can learn to recognise the symptoms before they are completely disabled by it and treat it before they become unable to. Its called managing depression; not allowing it to manage you.

So the first thing is to look at what we are putting into our body. The chemicals made by the brain when we feel sad or stressed are very real and damaging. They are not only temporarily appeased by the introduction of carbs, sugar, and caffeine. What relief these ingredients offer is short lived at best and the greater result is more damaging. Blood sugar imbalances, weight issues and magnified mood swings. Also, the appetite has been quelled but the body has not received any essential nourishment so that the brain then is literally starving. Changing ones diet can be a daunting task so starting with ADDING something instead of taking something pleasurable away is advised. Nevermind quitting sugar or carbs…at first. Try promising your body at least once a day the most healthy favorite food you can think of. Add a good daily multivitamin, and some oil(or eat nuts,salmon, eggs). Hemp, flax or if you don’t mind, fish oil. I swear by my fish oil multi made by Carlson. The essential fatty acids (efos) will help your brain function and manufacture chemicals that calm and relieve.

Take Charge Tea was named as such because of this desire to share the ability to *Take Charge* of your health and herbal teas are a great way to do this. One can achieve hydration, nourishment, pleasure, and relaxation all in the act of drinking or sharing a pot of tea. The particular blend of herbs most relevant to this post is the Oatstraw Lavender Lemonbalm. The most important item in my *depression toolkit* is my Oatstraw tea. As a matter of fact, it was the profound effect of the oatstraw that motivated the birth of this business. After the birth of my first child, I did not know it at the time but I experienced Post Partum Depression and it went on for about 14 months until a local herbalist recommended I drink a pot per day of Oatstraw. I did not realize how dark it was until the light came through; and I could not believe the difference. It was at that point I decided that I needed to share this. I added Lavender and Lemonbalm to enhance the effects and the flavour and the rest is history. This history includes dozens of people who come back to tell me how wonderful this tea is to help them sleep; how effective the tea was to cool the hot flashes (in this case the tea is steeped and stored in the fridge); how much the oatstraw tea helps to lessen or eradicate anxiety attacks; and I will never forget the lady who bought my oatstraw tea by the pound for over a year to help her daughter wean off her antidepressants. This was successful for her but I would not recommend this without guidance and monitoring by a herbalist or naturopath who is familiar with the meds. My hope is that this tea is going to help people avoid needing dangerous drugs in the first place.

There are several ways in which the oatstraw lavender lemonbalm works to help bring a body back to balance and a person back to happiness. Of course, as mentioned, the most important one is sleep. One of the greatest causes and/or symptoms of depression is the lack of or irregularity of good quality sleep. When we sleep, our brain manufactures chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine in such a way that they recalibrate. Of course this is an oversimplification but the fact of the matter is that a good night sleep biologically improves your chemical balance without the addition of synthetic alternatives. Our bodies are brilliant machines designed to heal themselves. The oatstraw also is a very good source of calcium and magnesium in the perfect quantities to allow maximum absorption. That is because it is a plant that has not been altered by man and our physical bodies are designed to function by interacting with the earths bounty, by way of acquiring our nourishment there. We are like a car built to run on gas. ethanol may work but If one were to put corn oil in the tank….the car would not. When our tank has corn oil in it, we do not function properly and our brain chemistry and other hormonal systems begin frantically trying to create balance thus resulting in numerous seemingly unrelated afflictions; often resulting in depression. Put whole food into your body.

Oatstraw is also known to help balance blood sugar levels. In the western world we have epidemic proportions of diabetes in all its forms. Anyone with or without diabetes would do well to watch their blood sugar levels and to avoid assaulting the pancreas with large amounts of sugar. Sugar free soft drinks or juices or flavored waters are not the answer to this problem because they all contain chemicals which are damaging to the liver, allergic and in my opinion should be illegal. Oatstraw is one herbal ally for this. Nettle is another. Blood sugar imbalance can cause irritation and depression can result.

The main ingredient of this tea is oatstraw but lemonbalm has been recommended for centuries as a calming mood uplifter. It has a lovely green flavor and smell. Lemonbalm is part of the mint family but does not taste minty at all. It has a lovely lemon scent when growing but this only comes through faintly in tea. That works perfectly with the mild flavour of oatstraw. Also, the Lavender is calming. Let me assure you that the tea blend is just sprinkled with lavender so that it does not taste perfumy. It is barely there, but notes of lavender heighten the taste experience. Hildegard von Bingen, a 12th century abbess, herbalist, scientist, artist and composer wrote this regarding lavender: “Whoever cooks this lavender in wine…and drinks it when it is warm, will lessen the pain in his liver and lungs, and the stuffiness in his chest. It also makes his thinking and disposition pure.”

Other things to consider for your depression tool kit are such physical activities as jogging, yoga, tai chi, dancing, lifting weights or any sport that stimulates you; even walking is greatly healing, especially beside a body of water. Taking some quiet time to sit in a garden or any place that you feel at peace; or a luxurious bathtub with aromatherapy. Think about the smells around you. Scent your room with such things as citrus, floral, or minty; again, any smell you like will make you feel happier overall if you remember to scent your home with it. My house smells of herbs because I do the Take Charge Tea business out of my home.

Sometimes exercise, diet, and relaxing is not enough. Sometimes we need to seriously think about changing something. This may mean a career change, walking away from a friendship or relationship that is not healthy or moving to a different place. These decisions are not to be taken lightly and are not a good idea while in the fog of despair, but if every measure has been taken and improvement has reached a plateau but happiness still eludes, sometimes difficult choices have to be made. Do not rush, and by all means, seek therapy if you need help organizing your thoughts.

For now, though, be patient with yourself. Love yourself, nurture yourself. For heavens sakes, make yourself a nice pot of tea. Listen to the silence (or some good music). Enjoy the solitude or share it with a friend

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mar Sommervi December 28, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Thank you for embracing this mission to provide Tea+Hope

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